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Patient Satisfaction Poor Indicator of Quality Surgical Care

FRIDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) -- For surgical patients, satisfaction is not associated with performance on process measures or on overall hospital safety culture scores, according to a study published in the April issue of JAMA Surgery.

Noting that, in 2010, national payers announced that patient satisfaction scores would be used to adjust reimbursements for surgical care, Heather Lyu, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues examined whether patient satisfaction is independent from surgical process measures and hospital safety among patients and hospital employees of 31 U.S. hospitals. During a two-year period, patient satisfaction scores were compared with hospital Surgical Care Improvement Program compliance and employee safety attitudes (safety culture) scores.

The researchers found no correlation between patient satisfaction and performance on process measures, including antibiotic prophylaxis, appropriate hair removal, Foley catheter removal, and deep vein thrombosis. Patient satisfaction was not associated with the overall safety culture score, or with the individual domains of job satisfaction, working conditions, and perceptions of management. There was an association between patient satisfaction and the domains of employee teamwork climate, safety climate, and stress recognition.

"Based on our findings, we suggest that patient satisfaction be measured in the context of other metrics of surgical quality," Lyu and colleagues conclude.

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